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Beauty blooms along Blossom Trail

If the out-of-state license plates on cars traveling East on Ashlan Avenue in Clovis are any indication, the spring of Central California in late February-March becomes spectacular the closer one gets closer to Centerville and the Sierra foothills.

Take drive or ride your bicycle through the Blossom Trail to see the beauty of Fresno?s county agriculture and learn some history about it.

The Blossom Trail runs from Clovis around to Centerville and along Highway 180 towards the foothills leading out to Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. Blossoms vary from the white or delicate pink petals of almond, apricot and plum trees to the red and pink petals of peach and nectarine.

Art teacher Sharon Scharf has been to the Blossom Trail many times, she has started and finished a number of blossom paintings after becoming inspired by the trail. She is also currently working on a watercolor painting.

The first blossoms to see in spring are the almond blossoms, which come in two different colors: a delicate pink or a creamy white.

Usually two or more varieties of these flowers are planted. These blossoms generally appear between Feb. 10-March 15.

?I like to paint certain blossoms, because of the colors,? Scharf said. ?The colors give me different ideas for water coloring.?

As you are heading down the trail of the blossoms and walk among the trees, you will hear the bees buzzing for their pollen. All the beauty you will see in the flowers is enhanced by the work of the bees helping set the fruit.

“The scene sounds so beautiful; I wish I could go and visit,” Ani Paparigian, ’09, said. “Maybe I will go just to listen to the birds and see nature. I may go out there to be inspired to paint.”

The central Sierra Nevada Mountains behind the blossoms shimmer in the sun and set the blossoms in front of an amazing backdrop.

Far from those blossoms are the apricot blossoms. The blossoms set a bright pink to the petals, with a mix of a little white at the tips. More than 12 varities of these apricot blossoms are grown a year.

Continue east towards and stop at Curtis Market. Curtis Market has an Indian on the outside of the store to draw the attention of passer-byes. Pick up any last minute additions to your picnic lunch. The market sells much of the fruit grown along the Blossom Trail.

The next Blossom Trail was the plum blossoms. The plum blossoms are a bright white with a thin light pink. Over two different varieties of these blossoms are grown and over 200 varieties are grown commercially.

?I like to go every year for more water coloring ideas,? Scharf said.

There are only two blossoms that grow the same color, the peach and nectarine blossoms. These blossoms are very difficult to grow; their color and shape are very hard to distinguish. They both have a brighter pink to red petals and are at their peak through Feb. 15.-March 15.

Scott’s Canoe Rental, Pierce?s Park and the Whispering Waters are the last places to see.

Scott’s Canoe Rental is a little down the road after the peach and nectarine trail. While there, rent a canoe and float down the river. Half way down, there is a stop, either stop there for a picnic or keep going.

Pierce?s Park was named after Otis Pierce. Otis was a famous country singer who?s bar attracted different people from all around ready for a thrill.

Right past the park was the Whispering Waters. Whispering Waters are where people can fish for the two different fish: rainbow fish and the channel fish.

Across form the lake look for a shop that offers bait and tackle, pole rentals, food, beverages and picnic tables.

?I really like to go about once a year,? Scharf said. ?The Blossom Trail really has inspired me to start a blossom painting.?

Those who drive to the foothills can turn right at the corner of 180 Highway 63 to take in the white blossoms of navel and valencia oranges on the way to Orange Cove. The higher elevation there helps protect the trees from frost damage.

To see the blossoms during their height, visit the Blossom Trail between February and March. Later in the summer go back to taste the delicious fruit. Return in mid-late May for apricots, peach nectarines and plums. Many varieties are still being picked into late September.

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